Headphones have become a fashion accessory for manufacturers. We analyze Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2, the renewal of one of the pioneering ranges in the development of what today are TWS headphones.
In addition to launching folding phones and watches, Samsung presented a few weeks ago what would be the renewal for its TWS headphones with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.
On this occasion, Samsung has not risked as much with the design as it did with the Galaxy Buds Live – which we analyze here – and is committed to a design and features closer to the Galaxy Buds Pro, but with an even more compact size.
Analysis of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 by sections:
- Design: minimalism in the design that takes the witness of the Buds Pro
- Control and connectivity app: the user experience will depend a lot on your mobile
- Sound quality and autonomy: up to 20 hours giving it all with noise cancellation and powerful bass
- Conclusions: they raise the bar with respect to Buds Live and improve the experience with a Samsung mobile
Minimalism is the design that takes the witness of the Buds Pro
To be honest, every time I am about to analyze TWS type headphones like these Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 that we have in hand, I find it incredible that, in headphones the size of a hazelnut, they are capable of putting so much technology and that it sounds so surprisingly well.
On this occasion, Samsung has taken a further twist by reducing the size of these headphones to make them more comfortable and lighter with dimensions of 17 x 20.9 x 21.2 mm and only 5 grams of weight per headset.
The South Koreans have not risked as much in the design of these Galaxy Buds 2 as they did with the Buds Live, but they do bet on a more minimalist aesthetic than that presented by the Buds Pro.
In this case, the curves are softened to the extreme, leaving oval headphones with the appearance of caramel that is further enhanced by the lavender finish that the headphones that Samsung has sent us to wear. It is also available in a Black, White, and Olive finish.
The headphones are accompanied by a charging case identical to the one we found in the Galaxy Buds Pro. The area in which the headphones are magnetically accommodated during charging has been changed. The case is bright white in all finishes and matches the interior with the color of the headphones.
On the front of the case, we find a small status LED and on the back, under the hinge of the case, the USB type C charging connector is located.
With dimensions of 50 x 50.2 x 27.8 mm and 41.2 grams of weight, this case is very comfortable to carry in your pocket without being too bulky.
A charging cable and two sets of additional silicone ear cushions are also included with the headphones. It is important to choose the right ear pads so that the headphones are more comfortable to wear and do not move when you use them.
The wearing comfort of TWS headphones, so subjective due to the shape of each ear and the sensitivity of each one, is difficult to assess. In my case, at first, I noticed a little the internal part that is flatter, but after a couple of hours of use, they began to be very comfortable.
So much so that in subsequent days I have managed to endure them for several hours without noticing any discomfort. However, as we say, this is very subjective and is even related to the chosen pad. The fact that they are so light also greatly influences the comfort of use.
The headphones are made of plastic with a glossy finish, which, when combined with its smooth and rounded shapes, results in headphones that can slip from your hands quite easily when you go to put them on or take them off.
On the outside, we find some discreet exterior microphones. On the inside, we find the right or left earphone indicator, the internal microphone, the charging contacts, and a proximity sensor that, although they detect when you put on the headphones, do not pause the music until you remove both headphones.
If you had thought of the Galaxy Buds 2 as companions in your training sessions, we may not bring very good news for you since they only have IPX2 certification that does not guarantee anything much more intense than a splash, so they are not the most recommended to do sport.
The user experience will depend a lot on your mobile
With such a compact size, the entire surface that is visible outside the ear becomes a touch surface from which to control its operation and responds to gestures immediately. All these controls are available for Android mobiles from the Galaxy Wearable app.
The iOS users are not so lucky as this app still does not recognize this model and can only be used generically from the menu Bluetooth connections.
Samsung sweeps at home by offering some exclusive functions that considerably improve the integration with its latest phones with One UI 3.1 and with its new Galaxy Watch 4 watches, as well as facilitating the control of the headphones from the native options of the mobile.
In our case, we have been able to use the Galaxy Buds 2 with the Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 – which we review here – and with the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic that we are still testing.
Features like Auto Switch allow you to automatically switch devices without having to disconnect from one first to link to the second. It also improves the wearing experience by controlling the headphones from the brand’s new watches with Buds Controller.
From the app, you get information about the battery status of the headphones and the charging case, as well as being able to configure the type and intensity of noise cancellation that is applied.
It offers three possible states for noise cancellation: Active Noise Cancellation, Ambient Sound, and Off.
Active Noise Cancellation does not support adjustment, but Ambient Sound mode does support adjustment of the volume of the ambient sound that is transmitted into the ear. We have chosen to set it to a low value since at maximum it generates a very artificial and strange sound.
The customization of touch gestures is practically non-existent, leaving only available the function of holding the press to activate or deactivate noise cancellation, launch the Spotify app, invoke Bixby, or increase and decrease the volume.
Luckily, hidden in the Labs option you can unlock an additional gesture by double-tapping right on the edge of the earpiece. This has allowed us to configure the command to increase volume in one of the headphones and lower it in the opposite.
Here we also find the Game Mode that, according to Samsung, reduces the latency of the Galaxy Buds 2 to reduce the lag between the audio and the image. The truth is that in our experience of using the Galaxy Fold 3 we have not appreciated latency before activating it, nor any difference with this setting activated.
In the control app of the Galaxy Buds 2, the function to equalize the sound is not lacking either: However, this is limited to offering six predefined profiles in which it is sought to reinforce the bass, the treble, or offer more relevance to the mid-tones. In our case, the one that best adapted to all types of music has been Dynamic.
Up to 20 hours giving it all with noise cancellation and powerful bass
One of the most important novelties for this model is, without a doubt, the presence of active noise cancellation that the Buds + lack and considerably improving that offered by the Galaxy Buds Live.
In this sense, I was surprised by its efficiency when it comes to canceling constant sounds where, for example, it has made the hum of the extractor hood disappear completely while cooking to the rhythm of the music.
Nor does it detract from the cancellation that is achieved in an environment with changing noises such as an urban environment, where it manages to minimize noise, but not eliminate it 100%, something in which the inclusion of foam pads would have contributed positively.
In any case, they are good results that bring them closer to high-end headphones and making things very difficult for models such as the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro – analysis – or the OnePlus Buds Pro – here is its analysis – with which it will compete hand by hand.
When it comes to sound quality, the Galaxy Buds 2 breaks out in this category with a very well dimensioned sound. What stands out the most when you start listening to them is the good route in the lower tones, where they are noticeable but, at least with the Dynamic profile, they stay in place without muddying everything.
The Galaxy Buds 2 get to take a trip around the frequency range present in Superheroes of Daft Punk, spending almost undeterred by the deep bass of the principle, midtones choirs, ending up in the chords of synthesizers, and all without losing definition.
The major route is found in the middle range showing bright control frequency tracks complicated as Thunderstruck of AC / DC, where Buds 2 get hold plucking guitars and voice, Brian Johnson, without stepping on each other helped of a very prominent separation of the stereo.
The two-way drivers manage to separate the frequencies well by driving each one through its channel. However, and despite offering a really remarkable sound for this price range, the weak point is found in high tones that suffer from staying at the level when they are pushed to the limit by raising the volume.
Obtaining a good sound will go into the background if the autonomy does not accompany it. It is not a tasteful dish to run out of battery in the middle of a trip. In this regard, the Galaxy Buds 2 meets what is required of headphones in this range.
Each earbud integrates a 61 mAh battery. With noise cancellation activated we have achieved between 4 and a half hours and 5 hours of use with a volume of 60% in a Galaxy Fold 3.
Turning off the active cancellation barely scratches another hour of use so, unless you are in an environment where you must remain alert, it is not worth disconnecting it.
The case provides three additional full charges with a charging time for the headphones of 55 minutes. The Buds 2 charge 30% of its battery in the first 10 minutes, allowing it to run for a couple of hours. Something that can save you from a good time of boredom in public transport.
The most efficient charging is done using a USB C cable, but the Galaxy Buds 2 case is also compatible with Qi wireless charging, so they can be charged with any charger compatible with this standard, as well as with the reverse charge of the smartphones.
They raise the bar with respect to Buds Live and improve the experience with a Samsung mobile
We come to the end of this analysis of the Galaxy Buds 2 and the truth is that we are facing a device that offers very good performance in general.
Samsung has swept the house by activating some exclusive functions when using brand phones with the latest operating system, but you also get a good experience with other Android phones.
The negative note is the lack of compatibility with devices with iOS and iPadOS, where the app either does not work or does not recognize the headphones, leaving out all the configuration options.
The South Korean brand has done a good job with the audio quality in this model, which is very close to the top models, although it maintains a reasonable distance with the high-end in the efficiency of noise cancellation.
The autonomy does not disappoint either, offering up to 20 hours of use with activated noise cancellation without the need for a power outlet, which allows you to face long-distance trips with guarantees.